Business partners: Who can make or break your start-up

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise partners

Written by Charles Staky

Before buying into a business, an entrepreneur has to ask themselves a few questions. What industry do they have experience in? What industry are they interested in? Where do they want to start their roots? Do they want to buy into a franchise system or make a name for themselves? One question that can have the largest impact, however, is if they want to involve a partner?

A partner can alleviate a lot of stress for a business owner, but if they are not a good duo, a partner can also make the situation a nightmare. Entering into a business partnership is very similar to a marriage, once you sign the dotted line you are with them for better or worse, for richer or poorer. And breaking up can be very costly. You wouldn’t marry someone without getting to know them first, so the same time and effort should be put into getting to know your business partner.

The comparison of a business partnership to marriage, as cliché as it may be, holds true in the sense that once it is official you will be sharing finances, future planning, and your reputation with another person. If you don’t give ample time or thought to finding the right person for this, the partnership will not work out as you want it to. Before making the partnership official there are a few ways in which you should get to know your partner to make sure the two of you will be successful.

First and foremost you need to ask yourself what you are looking for in a business partner. Financial assistance, expertise in the field, or someone to share the workload, all are important traits to look for in a partner.

Entrepreneur.com recommends looking for a partner who brings something different to the table than you do, whether that be access to the market or a little creativity to balance out your detail-oriented work ethic. Your partner should add value to the relationship, preferably in areas that you may not have the most knowledge. If they don’t seem to bring something new and useful to the table, they may not be the best candidate.

Another detail you should look for in a potential partner is how they spend their money. While finances tend to be a touchy subject for most people, you will be sharing every financial responsibility with this parson, so you’ll want to know where they stand before giving them access to your checkbook.

“Someone who has hefty, outstanding financial obligations, an unreasonably low credit score, or is obviously living beyond their means is probably not someone you want to trust with the financials of a future business,” says icn.com in their article Know Your Business Partner Well. Very, Very Well.

You don’t want your future partner spending money you don’t have on things your business doesn’t need, and on the other hand, you don’t want someone who isn’t willing to spend necessary money to grow your business. You have a certain level of comfortability with how you would like to run your finances and it is important to find a partner who is respectful of that.  After all, in this partnership you will be sharing the finances equally, weather you are splitting profit or paying off debt.

Long-term goals are also important. What do they want out of this partnership and the business? It is important to know that a potential partner is just as passionate in your venture as you are. If they’re working to achieve the same level of success as you, they will be willing to stick with it and work through the hard times, not just give up if the profit doesn’t flow in as expected.

The answers to all these questions are crucial to share with your potential partner before you can successfully run a business together. Honesty and communication are essential to building a relationship of any kind. In a formal partnership you will share everything, both good and bad, that comes out of your business and you will have to trust your partner is doing everything they can to pull their weight. You need to know how they will handle stressful situations and also how they will handle success. You will need to know everything about them because, let’s be honest, they will be one of the most important people in your life, hopefully long term.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we are lucky to have a number of franchisee partnerships who successfully make it work, including college fraternity brothers turned franchisees and those in business with their spouse.

“Since we have known each other, if we are going to put in effort at doing something, we are going to invest our entire effort into its success,” said multiunit franchisee Mark Snyir of his partnership with Chad Arnold. “Growing those professional bonds with like-minded people helps to develop and strengthen personal relationships with them.”

If you take the proper time to understand your potential partner and how they will handle the responsibilities of running a business, you can ensure they are the right fit. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in the excitement of your new business with the first person who shares your excitement, without knowing much about them. Time and communication is needed to build a strong relationship, and before you trust a potential partner completely, there should be no thought of entering a business partnership.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more.

Franchisee Feature: Tyler Whalen and Justin Tangeman

Tyler and Justin front of truck

Written by Katie Peterson

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we value members of our company who exemplify a strong work ethic and core values we were built on, and we love to celebrate them in any way we can. This is where Tyler Whalen and Justin Tangeman come in. The two began working as movers for the same franchise in Iowa during their first summers out of college. Both Justin and Tyler became movers under the assumption they would work for the summer and move on. After recognizing the opportunity in front of them, Tyler and Justin stayed much longer than a single summer, and are now co-franchisees of the Omaha, Neb., location.

Tyler and Justin met on the job when Justin, who had been working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® for about a year, interviewed Tyler for a driver position back in 2010.

“We actually didn’t hit it off right away. Tyler was just a pain in the butt employee for a while when he started, he complained about everything,” jokes Justin.

“It’s true. I just didn’t take the job very seriously upon hire. I figured it was just something to get me through the summer,” Tyler agreed.Tyler and Justin pointing to truck

Eventually, Tyler and Justin began seeing eye-to-eye and both their business and personal relationship has grown tremendously over the years. Now the two have teamed up to run the Omaha office that has since grown to be the successful franchise it is today.

Justin and Tyler have been franchisees in Omaha together for just over a year, and in this short amount of time, have executed more than 8,000 moves and in 2015, achieved the highest revenue the Omaha location has seen to date.

What did advancing yourselves in the system look like? What kind of positions did you hold before you became franchisees?

Tyler: I started out as a mover/driver for this small office and then moved into the office to be a kind-of CSR/manager. The office position was really a jack-of-all-trades because we were so small. I was in the CSR/manager position for about a year and was able to become a general manager after the location really took off and began to get a lot of business.

Justin: I was a mover/driver for a while and then I started doing some training, in-home estimates, and scheduling moves over the phone. My position required me to be a jack-of-all-trades doing everything I could for the franchise. After that I just kept taking on more responsibilities. I began on more managerial responsibilities, book keeping , marketing, and eventually moved to Tulsa, Okla., and was assistant operations manager for a large location there, and that’s where I first became a franchisee.

How do you like being a franchisee for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Justin: We love being franchisees. It’s so fun, every day is a challenge and something different. You get to do all the different tasks that come with it. Some days you have the hoods popped on the truck and you’re making sure it’s ready to run, and other days you’re sitting at the round table having a meeting and working on the business side of things.

What do you want to tell team members starting out as movers or drivers about the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise system?

Justin: Continuously work hard and strive to get to the next level, nothing is going to be given to you unless you work for it.

Tyler: The possibilities are really endless. It really just comes down to hard work. I remember from annual meeting listening to one of the original “two men” Jon Sorber say how important it is to always act like you are in the position above you. If you are a mover act like a driver, if you are a driver act like a trainer, if you’re a trainer act like you’re the manager, if you’re a manager act like the general manager, strive to take that next step and be proud of what you do and you are going to be rewarded for it. At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the biggest thing we are pushing right now is to build your bench. Building a solid team and creating a positive  culture with people who want to work hard and take initiative in what they do, there’s a future for them.

Which TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® core value most resonates with you?

Justin: Being my best and having fun. When you’re having fun at work it doesn’t seem like work at all, so we like to try and have fun while still working hard.

Tyler: A big one for me is giving back to the community. It is pretty cool to see  the difference we make with our trucks being able to move stuff. A big one we get into is doing bike drives and working with local businesses where we donate our men and trucks to be able to transport donated bikes. It’s just being able to do the little stuff like that where it takes such a small amount of time but makes such a big difference for the kids receiving the bikes and the people who need them transported. It’s pretty cool to see the impact we can have in our community.

Tyler and Justin know what it means to be part of the company who Moves People Forward®. We want to thank these franchisees for helping to make this brand the success it is and being an example of all you can achieve with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Thank you, Tyler and Justin, for being our featured franchisees! You deserve it!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more.

Fathers and franchisees: Bob and Cory Christensen

Christensen fathers day blog pic updated

The Christensen’s with Illinois Governor Rauner

Written by Katie Peterson

Father-son duo Bob Christensen and Cory Christensen master the challenges of running a family business, and the occasional tennis match. Just in time for Father’s Day, the Christensen’s offer up advice and share their experiences of going into business with family and the joys and challenges that go along with it.

Bob and Cory are multi-unit franchisees based out of Illinois with three franchises in Rockford, Peoria, and the Quad Cities. The pair got involved with the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family after Bob began researching business opportunities and realized if he wanted to achieve the most success he could, he would need the help of a partner. Bob enlisted the help of his son Cory and the two quickly realized they were a dynamic team.

According to Cory, he’s had an interest in the moving industry for a while. “I actually told my parents that after college I wanted to get into the box industry,” said Cory “My theory was everything comes in a box, even boxes come in boxes, so you can’t go wrong.”

When choosing Cory as a partner, Bob knew the importance of picking someone who complimented his strengths and weaknesses.

“You must find that family member that can offset your weaknesses so together you are stronger,” said Bob. “If two business partners, whether family or not, both have the same skills, one is useless.”

The Christensens make family business partnerships look easy, but more importantly, they excel as a family. Bob and Cory have found prioritizing family over their business has given them continued success. Bob believes it is crucial to not completely consume yourself with the business, because if you do, all other external functions take a backseat.

“My favorite part about being a dad is seeing the growth of my children both personally and professionally, especially as it relates to them being good fathers,” said Bob.

Cory says he has learned a lot from his dad in the business context, but even more from him as a father, “I admire Dad’s optimism and entrepreneurial spirit in business, but he has always been a good family man.” The pair are coaches of the Rockford 5-6-year-old “coaches pitch” baseball team, which Cory’s two oldest boys play in. This year the team is currently 3-0, although they aren’t technically supposed to keep score. Both Bob and Cory love to play sports, especially tennis and other racquet sports, and spend time playing together whenever they can.

Bob and Cory say they have learned a lot from being involved with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® as a family.

“One of my favorite parts about being involved in a family business is starting a legacy of owning many franchises and seeing your children and possibly grandchildren enter the family business,” said Bob.

As for advice to others considering going into business, Bob points to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s core value, “be your best and have fun.”

“Whatever you do, be the best you can be,” said Bob. “But you have to have a sense of humor and enjoy what you are doing, or you end up not paying attention to your ultimate success.”

Together, Bob and Cory have created a family tradition of upholding the values and practices of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and have achieved success as a family unit and family business as a result, with an increase in sales from $5,923,490 in 2014 to $8,946,424 in 2015 and a total of 49,918 moves since their first franchise opened in 2008.

Thank you, Christensen’s, for all you do for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and happy Father’s Day!

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more.

Finding success in franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Jessy Howe

Franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

As we continue to lead the moving industry with innovative ideas, we’d be lying if we didn’t say it is an exciting time to be at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®! 2015 was a record-breaking year hitting the highest revenue year in system history. During 2015 we also completed our 5.5 millionth move, but the momentum doesn’t stop there.

In our recent annual Franchise Business Review survey, results showed that 88 percent of current franchisees who responded enjoyed being involved in the system and nearly 90 percent would do it all again.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® was also recently ranked #3 on Franchise Gator’s Top 100 Franchises of 2016 and ranked #20 on Franchise Business Review’s Best of the Best list in 2015 celebrating our 10th consecutive year on the list.

With plans to sign 30 new locations in 2016, our system is excited to continue expanding the brand across the country focusing on top markets including California, Oregon, and Washington. With these additions we will continue to welcome hardworking and dedicated individuals to the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family.

We look for motivated individuals that are passionate for providing top-notch customer service and are committed to working closely with their community. Many of our franchisees come from a variety of back grounds bringing diversity to our system. Professionals in careers across multiple industries ranging from law, medicine, military, real-estate, accounting, and many more have found their perfect fit as a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee. Perhaps the most important thing they have in common is the level in which they believe in the brand.

“We have had six years of record growth and feel blessed as the largest and most successful franchise moving company in the world. More importantly our brand is recognized for its commitment to our core values and a high level of customer service,” said CEO Jeff Wesley. “We are adding a record number of locations with franchisees who love our brand and recognize the vision we have for the future.”

As a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee you will be provided with the support to move your business forward from the very beginning. Upon signing, new franchisees receive start-up support including business planning sessions and vendor partnerships to recruitment assistance and an onsite start-up team. The corporate office employs several subject matter experts in all fields including operations, training, sales, human resources, marketing, information technology, and national accounts to guide franchise teams through the various aspects of your business.

As the nation’s first and largest franchised moving company, we’ve learned how to help franchises thrive. Considering investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more about franchising opportunities at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®!

Partners in marriage and business, how one couple is making it work

Written by Jessy Howe
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Franchisee Jonathon and Karen Crain
The thought of being in business with your spouse is enough to scare some away, but for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Multi-Unit Franchisee Jonathan Crain and his wife, Karen, the support and understanding from the experience far outweighs any negatives.

Karen and Jonathan met through mutual friends and quickly became inseparable. Karen sold the salon she owned and began working alongside Jonathan as the marketing manager at the Lakeland, Fla., location in 2010. Fast forward to 2016, and the happy couple is now experiencing great business growth. Between the Kissimmee and Lakeland franchises, they completed more than 3,500 moves in 2015 bringing in nearly $2.8 million in revenue. To top that off, they are expecting their first child!

Q: How did the two of you meet?

Jonathan: Karen managed a high-end salon and spa in Winter Springs, Fla., while I was in college at the University of Central Florida. Two of my female roommates worked for Karen at the spa. Unknowingly, Karen and I had both expressed interest in the other to friends. I said flippantly when I first met Karen, “I’m going to marry that girl one day.” Everyone laughed and said she was way out of my league. We had dated other people for a few years and happened to both get out of relationships at the same time. The timing was right and we began dating. We immediately fell head over heels in love and spent every moment of the next several years together.

Q: How long have you been married?

Jonathan: Karen was very patient while I opened the Lakeland franchise and pushed marriage down the road. She eventually sold the salon she owned in 2010 and began to work in the office with me. I proposed in 2011 after we had lived together for six years. We were married in November of 2013, and are now expecting our first child in June of this year, a little girl.

Q: Although no day is the same, describe a typical day at each of your jobs.

Jonathan: Our days are very different. We don’t always work the same schedule. Sometimes we ride into work together and sometimes we don’t. Our offices are on opposite sides of the building, so we don’t see each other much unless we need something. I take meetings and solve problems all day. Karen handles receivables and payables and QuickBooks. Karen also helps manage the customer service representatives. 

Karen: When I first started working with Jonathan my desk was in his office. That lasted about three months and eventually I needed my own space.

Q: How do you balance your work life and personal life?

Karen and Jonathan: “Work hard, play hard” was our motto for many years. With a baby on the way, the motto is now “work hard, relax hard.”

Q: What is the best part of having your significant other at work?

Karen: The best part about working with Jonathan is I can come to him with any issue, and he always has the best solutions.

Jonathan: The best part of having Karen at work is she helps keep me calm when major problems are happening. It’s kind of nice to go home after a bad day and for your spouse to completely understand what you’ve been through. Not many spouses REALLY understand what their spouse goes through on a daily basis.

Q: What advice would you share to others about being in business with their spouses?TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Franchisee Jonathon and Karen Crain

Jonathan: BE RESPECTFUL! That’s probably the best advice for marriage and working together.

Karen: Treat each other with respect, especially at work and in front of co-workers. If you have a disagreement about something, work it out privately. Also, try to have fun and lift the other person up if they are having a bad day. There are many times throughout the day that we take a break and just joke around together. I think it relieves a lot of stress.

Q: Are there any special plans for Valentine’s Day?

Karen and Jonathan: Valentine’s Day for us usually involves really great food. We either make plans for a great restaurant or stay in and make a gourmet meal together.

With a foundation as strong as this, Karen and Jonathan embody what it means to be the “Movers Who Care®” and are an excellent example successfully being in business with the one you love.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today! Visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to learn more about franchising opportunities.

Best friends and business partners: How TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee duo makes it work

Nathan Berns and Matt Rose are best friends. They also happen to be business partners and run multiple TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises together. When considering opening a business, it’s vital to know who you are going into business with.

“We have always worked well together and we trust each other implicitly,” said Matt. “For both of us teaming up was not really a question it was just a matter of finding the right opportunity.”

Having your business partner as one of your best friends adds a unique dynamic to the business.

“It’s really nice to have a good friend who can completely relate to how your day went and who can make each other laugh at the end of a stressful day,” said Nathan.

And whatever they are doing is working! Their location in Annapolis is on track to hit close to $1 million in its first year of business and their Cedar Rapids, Iowa location is seeing 26% growth year-to-date.

If you are considering opening a business, it’s important to have full trust in your business partner. Nathan and Matt agree that it’s equally as important to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing where one another’s skills and talents lie allows you and your business partner to hit the ground running and easily split up tasks and responsibilities.blog-berns

“We weren’t really concerned that becoming business partners might put a strain on our relationship,” said Matt. “Our friendship developed in a pretty high pressure environment so this feels like a natural progression in our friendship.”

Before Matt and Nathan went into business together, they had many frank conversations about expectations and the realities of this business before making commitments. They recommend all business partners do this before taking the plunge.

Being a multi-unit franchisee keeps you busy. The biggest challenge is overseeing multiple locations while maintaining high standards.

“There are so many moving parts it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks; fortunately, we have an excellent team that we trust,” said Matt. “They are doing a great job helping execute our vision.”

Nathan and Matt recently opened their second Maryland location in Crofton. While their priority is their existing business, they have ideas for the future and are always looking for growth opportunities.

Nathan Berns and Matt Rose are true assets to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Their passion, motivation to succeed, and teamwork has made them a strong force on the East Coast.

Visit twomenandatruckfranchising.com to learn more about franchising opportunities. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us move your career forward. Consider investing in us and becoming a franchisee today!

Friends turned business partners

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Multi-unit Franchisees Nathan Berns and Matt Rose have grown in unison with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Nathan initially became a franchisee in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2012. After experiencing tremendous growth and success, he convinced Matt to look into TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Matt jumped on the bandwagon and became a franchisee in 2014 with the opening of the Annapolis, Md., location.

Nathan and Matt met at the University of Iowa law school and instantly became friends. Upon graduation, Matt and Nathan decided to forgo careers in law and pursued professional poker full-time while looking for investment opportunities. As Matt and Nathan started thinking about having families of their own, they knew they wanted to find a more stable profession. Nathan moved on to own a commercial window cleaning company, while Matt became an executive at an international telecommunications company. Matt and Nathan had big hopes and dreams, but they weren’t aware of the amount of success they would achieve and just how bright their futures would be.

Since completing his education, Nathan had only worked for himself. He dove head first into the world of entrepreneurship and has never looked back. While it can certainly be less “comfortable” than a traditional career, Nathan is excited by the opportunities and flexibility being a business owner entails.

Similar to Nathan, after completing his education, Matt pursued poker full-time and his plan was to continue being self-employed and look for investments. However, when the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® opportunity presented itself, Matt decided to make a career change and join the corporate world. Leaving the comforts and security of his previous careers was difficult for Matt, but becoming a business owner was always a part of his plan, it was just a matter of when. For both men, being a business owner means independence and an opportunity to create something for their families that they would not be able to do in a traditional career.

Why TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Nathan saw an online advertisement for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® when he was researching businesses for sale, he saw the opportunity as recession-proof and before he knew it, he was purchasing the existing Cedar Rapids, Iowa location. Knowing Nathan was succeeding with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, Matt began taking steps to learn more about the brand. It soon became obvious to both Matt and Nathan they should work together again. They began researching available territories and soon found an ideal location in Maryland.

Why franchising?

“Having a franchise means that you have a proven business model,” said Matt. “We are both married with small children and it is extremely important to us that we are making smart business decisions that we are confident will lead to success. Becoming a part of a franchise means that we have a support network that is there to help us succeed, it is very reassuring.”

Has Nathan and Matt’s story inspired you? To learn about franchising opportunities, visit twomenandatruckfranchising.com. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move your career forward, invest in us today!

Banding together brotherhood bond and business partnership

Steve Newman, Kevin Newman, and Curtis Newman are three brothers who uprooted their lives in Iowa and settled in an unfamiliar place to purchase and take over two, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises.

The trio took ownership of two franchises in San Antonio and spontaneously moved to Texas. Only Steve had lived in Texas, and for one year prior. Curtis and Kevin’s move to Texas marked the first time they’ve lived outside of Iowa.

“It was a little bit of a culture shock when we first arrived in San Antonio,” said Curtis. We are just starting to realize how hot the summers can be in Texas.”

The brothers quickly realized taking over a franchise brings many unique challenges and obstacles.

“Combining both franchises took some time,” said Kevin. “We are very excited to spend more time running the franchises now that we are past most of the legal work involving the transfers.”

Taking over the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchises has been a one-of-a-kind experience, but owning a business with siblings brings unique challenges, too. Steve, Curtis, and Kevin’s most evident challenge was dividing duties among the three of them.

“We all want to be involved in every aspect of the business to help each other complete tasks even though we know that is not feasible,” said Steve. “Only recently have we been able to find ways to segregate duties while still providing the necessary support on bigger issues. Another big challenge of working with my brothers was keeping things professional all of the time. As an older brother, it is my responsibility to tease my younger siblings relentlessly. It took a lot more willpower than I expected that first month to keep my light hearted jabs behind closed doors.”

Curtis also brought up a unique challenge.Newman 3

“It’s difficult to refrain from talking about work when the three of us get together outside the office,” said Curtis.

Recently, the Newmans overcame one of their biggest challenges and split their positions into various roles. Curtis has a background in sales and now handles sales and marketing, Steve has a legal background and the most knowledge about owning a business and is in charge of the company’s finances. Kevin oversees operations and has the most knowledge of DOT regulations. It’s important to separate work into areas that best fit each business partner’s background and appropriately highlights their skills.

While working with family members brings its own challenges, there are many rewards, too. Working with family is unique because you have complete trust in your partners, and you have a support system backing you up when you make important decisions for the company. Steve, Curtis, and Kevin are all confident they will succeed as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees, which is extremely exciting for them to share their optimism with their families.

The Newman’s number one piece of advice for family members considering running a business together would be to separate out your work and business life. It’s easy to get caught up in work conversations at family functions, birthday parties, and other gatherings when you are together outside of work. If you are able to create a balance you, along with your family, will be much happier!

Curtis, Steve, and Kevin are superstars! We are ecstatic to have them as part of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® family. To learn more franchisee stories like the Newman’s, subscribe to our blog.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has franchises in 39 states, and has experienced 66 straight months of growth and 50 consecutive months of record growth. Come on, invest in us! If you are interested in receiving franchising information, visit: twomenandatruckfranchising.com.

Knowles trio takes TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchising opportunities by storm

The beginning

Larry Knowles, Jeff Knowles, and Ryan Knowles are a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee trio with six locations in Florida. Larry, Jeff and Ryan’s father, conducted his first move in March 1993. Since then, his footprint has expanded with the help of sons Jeff and Ryan.

Nineteen years after their first franchise opened, the family has taken their business by storm and expanded the brand in Florida with six locations in Tampa, Pasco, and Spring Hill.

Together, the Knowles family, who are Michigan natives, tells an interesting story.

Larry’s friend, Duane, was a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisee who loved the system and had great success as a small business owner. It didn’t take Duane much time to convince Larry to open a franchise in Tampa, Fla. After all, Larry is a CPA with a diverse background in accounting which was a huge draw when he considered starting his own business.

“The thought of getting out of the Michigan winters and running my own business was very appealing,” said Larry. “It was a little scary moving to Florida without knowing anyone.”

Larry picked up his family and moved to Florida at the end of 1992. Little did he know how much his life would change and how much success would be achieved as a business owner.

Expanding their business

Five years after Larry’s franchise opened, Jeff became involved in the business. Ryan saw the opportunities TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offered and joined his family members a few years after Jeff. Once Larry’s sons joined him, the dream team was created, and they were able to significantly increase the number of trucks and franIMG_0240chise locations.

“With them on board we became more efficient, I would recommend anyone starting a franchise to have a family member working full-time in operations,” said Larry. “Right now, we have five relatives working with us, at one time we had six!”

Jeff reminisced on their team communication and giving back to their employees.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have three minds tackling issues,” said Jeff. “We communicate well (most of the time) and this communication has taken a vital role in our success. Our management is eager and confident and can see the big picture at the end of the day. Not only are our managers great, our frontline staff – movers, drivers, customer service representatives — are, too. Our frontline lives out the core values and we give back to them because of it. Without our frontline, we’d be out of business. Sometimes that’s easy to forget.”

The future

It’s clear that talking about future business plans excites Larry, Jeff, and Ryan and they are eager to continue expanding their footprint even more. As a system, we’re excited to see what is in store for the Knowles family!

“We’ve been blessed to have great employees in place that we trust and are extremely confident in,” said Jeff. “It’s exciting to watch them grow as managers and hopefully franchisees.”

The Knowles invest a lot in their employees which is why we believe they’ve continued to see success through the years. To learn more about TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchisees subscribe to our blog.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Visit twomenandatruckfranchising.com for more franchising information.

There’s no you or me in we: Building a franchising business partnership for the right reasons

Business PartnershipSo you’re talking to your best friend of 10 years, and you have both recently read about the hot new roller derby franchise concept where people can live out their derby dreams for a day. You agree it would be much better than your high-paying corporate jobs, and your family, friends and former colleagues would all be your first customers. Of course, this relationship is one that maintains a high level a trust, and you’re both business stars, making a solid business team. You quit your jobs, buy the franchise, and a year later are so angry with each other you get into a brawl out on the roller derby track in front of all your customers and employees. To add insult to injury, your business is in the red. Perhaps this example is a bit extreme, so let’s look at another.

You’ve recently met somebody through a business networking group. You both talked about looking for an investment and franchising was of interest. You go to coffee and, after reviewing one another’s resumes, decide you have perfectly complimentary business skills. So you begin reviewing franchise concepts together and find a solidly performing moving franchise. You pick this franchise after weighing the pros and cons of each concept you’ve selected. Eventually you draw up a business plan and get awarded a franchise. A year later you’re both about to lawyer up and devise a plan to buy the other out. You can’t keep staff, and you step on each other’s toes constantly. Finally you decide you really annoy each other.

While there is some hyperbole here, situations like this do happen. I’ve seen them. Throw in more than two people, and it gets beyond interesting when things get tough. It doesn’t matter how well or how little you know your business partner(s). What matters is why you are going into partnership to begin with and how you structure it. I won’t get into legal structure here. Rather, I am focused on the structure created when people understand their respective roles in the partnership. It’s basic psychology!

Business PartnersWhile in both situations above, the partners made an attempt at figuring out why they should be partners; it was cursory. They were excited about franchising concepts and a new business opportunity without defining the overall goals of the partnership. In any business partnership discussion, you need a meeting of the minds relative to the goals of pursuing something together versus doing it solo. This can be a tough conversation, especially if you are dealing with partners that are family or friends, but if you don’t assess in detail the merits and goals of the partnership and subsequently get lost in the financial opportunity, you’ll likely wind up on very different pages. You’re not individuals running a business; a partnership creates a “we.”  And, if you don’t know your partner personally, you may need to spend a little more time getting acquainted. I’m not saying you need to be friends in a business partnership, but you must understand how your partner operates in life because you may be spending a lot of time together, at least as a longer-term colleague.  In addition to the “why”, you need to understand the “how” of the partnership.

I can’t think of a single personality type that is completely comfortable with uncertainty in a work environment. Professionals function more optimally when they know what it is they are supposed to bring to the table and what is to be accomplished. While it may be fun to have some chaos and change in business, it’s best to keep it there and not in your partnership.

After figuring out the partnership and business goals, partners need to figure out what roles and responsibilities each possess in order to achieve success. There also needs to be constant, honest communication on how each is doing toward achieving the company’s goals.

This also impacts your team greatly. The team belongs to the partners, even if one partner has more of a day-to-day role with team members. Teams also thrive when they know their respective roles and responsibilities and what success looks like. The partnership needs to lead by being an example of clarity and consistency. And if one partner is suddenly pulled into a different direction by personal matters, or you feel the partnership is no longer working, a proper plan at the onset will guide you as to what should be done. Let’s get back to the positive.

Partnerships in business can be incredibly dynamic, value-laden structures that support greater success which you or me alone could not achieve.  Keep in mind if you add additional partners, you still have to figure out the why and how; it just becomes more complex.  However, the tradeoff is you give yourself to the partnership (or you should!) and give up autonomy in decision-making and function. You are also betting on your partner(s) to bring their A game and contribute like they said they would.  If you spend more time at the front end figuring out whether this is the right path, you are more likely to achieve what you are going after. And you’ll certainly enjoy the journey all the more.